While other New Yorkers cowered in their apartments by candlelight, our intrepid contributor Nick Goddard took to city streets during the storm on his Honda Cub. Here’s a recounting of his adventure. — Ed.
People seemed to like the Hurricane Irene pictures, so when Sandy hit, my friends and I went on another adventure in hopes of getting some video.
It was a spring tide, and we headed out right at high tide, which coincided with the highest winds of the storm. We had an inkling that the Gowanus Canal would be flooded, so we headed straight for it. My friend drove his Jeep into the flooded road at the 3rd St. crossing, but when it got more than a foot deep we turned around and made our way back onto dryish land.
Right as we left the water, a Honda Pilot turned onto the street. When he saw us, he must have thought “hey, those guys made it!” and he drove in–made a big bow wave too, right up to waist deep water, where his engine stopped. Five or six minutes later he opened the door and stepped out into the waist-deep Gowanus Canal water. If he had gone five or so blocks north he could have crossed easily. The guy mills around in the water, then gets back in his car. As far as I know, he sat in it until the tide went out–an hour later the street was dry and the Pilot was moved to the curb.
The Gowanus neighborhood was flooded too. Home Depot’s parking lot looked to be about four feet deep, and still had a few cars in it.
Today I brought a Go-Pro and hopped on the Cub to explore the carnage, and wound up becoming part of it myself. The Cub’s air intake is really high, and I had gotten confident after the foot-deep water crossing a few seconds earlier. I aimed it at Lake Red Hook on Van Brunt St., and eventually it stopped running in about two feet of water. I borrowed a hose from a firehouse in Red Hook and rinsed the saltwater off the Cub for fifteen minutes. Now it’s home and has spark, but still hasn’t started.